Navigation Links
Never Married, Over 40, Well-Adjusted
Date:12/5/2009

Research debunks the 'something's wrong with being single' myth

SATURDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Pity the poor single people who pass their 40th birthday without ever tying the knot, since research has shown that never-married adults have more health woes than married folks. And, um, isn't there something wrong with those who go it alone anyway?

Not so fast.

A new study looking at psychological measures shows that never-married people aged 40 and up can be just as resourceful, psychologically speaking, as their married counterparts.

Wait, there's more.

"If you look at never marrieds who are high on mastery -- they feel like they are in the driver's seat and in control of their lives -- and high on self-sufficiency -- they know how to take care of themselves -- they actually have better emotional well-being than married people," said study author Jamila Bookwala, an associate professor of psychology at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. Her report is published in the Nov. 30 issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

For the study, Bookwala drew on data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, looking at responses from more than 1,500 Americans aged 40 to 74. They identified themselves as married or never married. Most, 1,486, were married, while 105 had never married.

"What's new here is the never-married individual is getting attention," she said. Sometimes in research, she explained, they are combined with separated, divorced and widowed people as singles, but in her research she looked at never-married individuals only and compared them with married people.

Among her findings are that never-married adults, overall, do report lower levels of overall emotional well-being than their married counterparts in the same age group. But they are comparable when it comes to psychological resources, the stuff that helps humans deal with life challenges.

Bookwala looked at three measures of psychological resources, including personal mastery (the degree people think they have control over things in life, which is important to avoid depression), agency (the tendency to focus on oneself, which is good for mental health) and self-sufficiency (a sense of autonomy, which is also linked with better mental health).

The never-married participants do tend to have fewer social resources, she said. "In general they tend to report less [perceived] support from families than marrieds."

But the higher the never-married individuals scored on those psychological resources, the better their emotional well-being, she found. Better, even, than the married folks, if they scored high on those measures.

"In that sense, we find our study debunks that myth of something being wrong with the never-married individual," Bookwala said.

In fact, high levels of self-sufficiency may work against people in a marriage, she noted. "For a marriage to work well, you need a certain amount of interdependence," Bookwala said. It could, in fact, explain why some never-married people decided not to wed.

Or, she said, they may have developed self-sufficiency the longer they stayed single.

The study suggests that marriage -- often touted as the best lifetime relationship goal -- may not be best for everyone, said Patrick Markey, an associate professor of psychology at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa.

For most people, marriage might be a desirable goal, he said. "But there might be a subset of people, the ultra-independent individual, for whom this may not be the best life course."

He's referring to those people who Bookwala found high in self-sufficiency. "They might actually be happier because they didn't get married," Markey said.

But, he pointed out, the sample size of never-married participants in the study, a little over 100, is low. So, it's possible that a larger study with never-married people might produce different results.

More information

To learn more about marriage statistics in the United States, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Patrick Markey, Ph.D., associate professor, psychology, Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Villanova, Pa.; Jamila Bookwala, Ph.D., associate professor, psychology, Lafayette College, Easton, Pa.; Nov. 30, 2009, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Genital Herpes May Never Go Dormant
2. Many Childhood Cancer Survivors Never Marry
3. A Staggering 7 Out of 10 Women Facing Breast Cancer Are Never Told of Their Options
4. Its Now or Never - Deadline for Olympic-Hopeful Skater With Secret Weapon
5. Nurses to Benefit From New CMS Never Events Resource Area on Mosbys Nursing Consult
6. Wine & Latin Food: They Said It Would Never Last
7. New Compact and Folding Reading Glasses from VisAcuity.com: Never Leave Home Without Them
8. Oral Health Should Never Be Compromised
9. Consumer Reports Poll: Thirty-One Percent of Americans Never Use Sunscreen
10. 70% of Contact Lens Cases are Contaminated and Nearly 1 in 4 are Never Replaced - a Serious Problem Eye Doctors Want Fixed, WatchDog Group Reports
11. American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) - Myths About Never Ending Pursuit of Patient Safety and Satisfaction Debunked
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The International ... promote standards of excellence for the field of eating disorders, announces the opening ... 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Ill. (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... Edwardsville School of Pharmacy (SOP) alumni Hannah Randall, PharmD ‘17, and Jennifer ... healthcare professionals on guideline updates for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , which specializes in the delivery of ... part of a disaster drill on October 3rd. , Apple Rehab participated with the ... as well as the Connecticut Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plan (LTC-MAP). The ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills is ... vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise funds ... by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 a.m. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... NJ (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global ... at scenic Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global ... physical activity. The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... MENLO PARK, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... a national scientific team that developed an innovative way ... and quantity of the delivery of new drugs. ... the 2017 Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference will show how ... Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School used a suite ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  True Health, ... has amplified its effort during National Breast Cancer ... hereditary cancer risks. ... Clinical Oncology calculated that more than 10 million ... inherited mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and have not ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 2017  NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance in May 2017 for ... stand specifically designed for endoscopy environments. An innovative secondary monitor solution, ... solution to support the improvement of patient outcomes, procedural efficiency, and ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: